No one likes to think they’ve caught a sexually transmitted infection (STI) but without a test you just can’t be sure.
If your festive season included unprotected sex then you should be thinking about getting tested now. Also, with just one month to go before Valentine’s Day anyone hoping to enjoy the celebrations to the full should do so knowing that they are infection free and will not be putting someone else’s sexual health in danger.
More and more people in the UK are catching STIs and each year the infection rate is rising. Regardless of how old you are, if you’re gay or straight, if you’ve had one partner or 100 just one unprotected sexual encounter could have put you at risk of catching an STI.
It’s important if you are sexually active, particularly if you change partners or have more than one partner, to know your STI status and consider regular screenings to diagnose potential STIs.
All it takes is a visit to your doctor or another facility that provide STI screenings. While screenings are not done automatically as part of physicals or wellness checks, ask for which tests to get.
It’s Your Health, Take Control
Diagnostic tests give you accurate, timely information to better manage your health. Early detection of STIs can completely change the course of your story. If you know your status, you can work with your doctor to take appropriate steps. Treatments are available for certain STIs that are not curable like HIV. Syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are all curable, but only if you get tested, diagnosed and treated.
So, don’t wait. Talk to your doctor about which STI tests you should get to determine if you have contracted any STIs so that you can receive treatment should you be infected. When it comes to your sexual health, it is important to be aware that STIs remain common and that testing can provide you powerful information to help keep you and others healthy.
How can STIs affect your health long term?
If left untreated, an STI can lead to serious, possibly devastating, long-term complications, which can include:
- Male and female sterility
- Bone deformities
- Damage to major organs (heart, kidney, brain, etc.)
- Cervical cancer
- Cancer of the vagina, penis, anus, or throat
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can damage a woman’s fallopian tubes, leading to pelvic pain and sterility
- Tubal pregnancy (where the foetus grows in the fallopian tube instead of the womb)
- Pain during urination or intercourse
- Blisters, sores, warts, rashes, or swelling in the genital, anal, or mouth areas
- Discharge from the penis, vagina, or rectum
- Persistent flu-like symptoms
- Birth defects, including mental retardation of a baby
Some STDs do not go away despite treatment. This means that you may have to share this information with any prospective sexual partners.
It is important to note that even if you feel perfectly healthy you could still be carrying something. Often getting routinely tested is the only way that people can detect an infection and the earlier they are tested and treated, the less chance there is of long-term damage being caused.
Getting a sexual health check is easy and shouldn’t be embarrassing or shameful; sex is a normal part of adult life so sexual health checks should be to. It’s a quick, simple process that not only puts your mind at rest but could protect your fertility or even save your life or that of your partner. So use STIQ Day to get smart about your sexual health.
At Pall Mall Medical, we offer sexual health screening services and appointments. Click here for more information or call us on 03300 58 44 55.